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Equilibrium Fan Fiction by Coolhand
This Lonely Tumult
(part 1)

 Part One | 12 | 3 | 4 | 56 | Part Two


Part One. The Redemption.



The room spun, crashed and echoed, muzzle flashes lit the thick smoke like lightening as a pair of blazing guns cut spinning arcs around their user. Bodies were flung away like dust from the destructive whirlwind, heads and chests torn with holes that had been placed with cold, mathematical precision. The walls that surrounded the dancing figure at the heart of maelstrom were boiling, frothing under the impact of bullets that struggled in vain to find the figure itself. The figure of a Grammaton cleric.

Cleric Errol Partridge dropped down low to avoid the three bullets he knew would be coming and thrust his arms out to each side. Kata 15. He triggered two rounds from each pistol-three bullets hissed overhead-and dropped the two men on his flanks. Then he rolled left, allowing the last man to waste ammunition on the spot Partridge had just vacated. He came up out of the role and flowed into Kata 71. Side on to target to minimize exposure. Weight on bent back leg, front leg stretched out towards target, both arms indexing target. One stretched out straight. One low across his stomach. He squeezed off two rounds from each gun, lifting the man up and tossing him into a torn leather sofa. But even as his body was toppling the sofa onto it's back, the Cleric who'd killed him was slipping back into a neutral stance, stood straight, feet apart, arms by his sides as the silence drifted down across the room.

The Zen-like trance of Gun-Kata dissolved away, and Partridge became aware of his increased heart-rate, the tingling in his arms from the recoil of his pistols, superfluous sensory data to be processed and discarded. He looked about the room, not needing to count the bodies. Ten sense offenders down. TetraGrammaton Intelligence had set the number at eleven, plus a large quantity of EC-10 contraband. But this simple room contained nothing but bodies, fallen weapons and spent shell casings.

No, the Intel is sound. The EC-10 is here somewhere, along with the final sense-offender.

Partridge's first action was a tactical re-load, slipping the depleted clips from his sidearms and inserting fresh ones. Then he holstered his left-hand gun. One firearm against one offender would be sufficient. And then he began his search, mind reviewing the situation. Three days ago, the TetraGrammaton had captured Ryan Griffith, a man long-wanted for sense-offence, distribution of EC-10 materiel and the killing of two sweepers whilst resisting arrest. Under interrogation, Griffith had revealed that a major art deal was scheduled to take place, deep in the Nethers. He'd given the time and approximate location of the deal. In response, he'd been allowed a bullet in the head before his disposal in the Hall of Incineration.

Partridge had been dispatched along with a sweeper team to interdict the deal. But on route to the target location, the sweeper team had been redirected to attend a riot taking place at Libria's gates. With resources as tight as they were, such last minute changes were not uncommon. Cleric Partridge had continued on his own, and had spent two whole days tracking down the exact site of the deal. But the expended effort would be worthwhile if he could find the EC-10.

He touched his black gloved hand to the wall as he walked alongside it, tapping softly. And halfway down the wall, the taps started to echo. He nodded. It was a standard sense-offender tactic. Create a false wall to hide yourself and your EC-10 haul in the cavity.

He found the camouflaged handle with practiced ease and pulled. As the door swung open, he shifted into Kata 10. A neutral stance, his weapon braced in both hands. From this base position, he could move easily into numerous offensive or defensive Katas, dependent on what waited for him inside the hidden room. The door swung away to reveal stacks of 2D painted images, books of fictional narrative, CD's and vinyl disc's that held music. And in front of it all stood a woman. Caucasian, dark hair. Her face was painted-clear EC-10 violation- her clothing a non-regulation black dress. She was a throwback to the emotional chaos that had so wounded humankind before the war. Before Father. Before Libria.

In her hands was a length of pipe, her knuckles white around the metal. Partridge stowed his sidearm. There was no need to waste the bullets. He strode towards the woman, evaded her clumsy swing with ease, grabbed her wrist with one hand and simply swatted the pipe from her grasp with the other. As it clanged away, he spun her arm in it's socket and twisted, locking it behind her back.

"You are under arrest for violation of EC-10 contraband regulations and suspected sense offence." he said evenly, slipping a plasti-cuff around her hand. "By the authority of the TetraGrammaton, you will be removed to the halls of Justice for processing." He pulled her other arm behind her back and cuffed it to the first.

"Processing?" she said, voice full of incriminating emotion. Hate and contempt. Though he'd never felt them, Partridge had been trained to recognize their voice cadence.

"You can dress it up with all the dispassionate terms you want, you Cleric son of a bitch, but you still mean murder."

Partridge ignored her, searched her quickly for weapons and EC-10 and marched her from the room. Then turned back to face the hidden room. He'd return to his car, call in a report and guard the site until the Evidentiary team could be brought in the log and remove the contraband. And then, the alarm in his head went off, as it always did, seconds before the alarm on his wristwatch. He pulled back his sleeve and thumbed the button on the twin-dial timepiece to silence it.

It was time to administer his interval. To keep himself free of the stain of emotion.

He looked up from his watch and saw the woman gazing at the room, of the bodies of her fellow sense-offenders. His face was pale dispite her makeup, and there were tears in her eyes. She was struggling to keep herself under some sort of emotional control. Partridge shook his head. If she’d only kept up her interval, she wouldn’t be suffering from those corrosive emotional attacks.

"Move." he said, pushing the women towards the door of the room.

In Libria, there was no war, no murder. But the Nethers outside Libria could be a dangerous place, especially at night. Firstly there were the lawless elements that roamed the shattered, ruined skeleton that had once been a city, fighting for food survival and sometimes just for sport. Sense-offenders also skulked in the shadows, drinking in their fix of illegal emotion in what they perceived as relative safety from the TetraGrammaton. Fortunately, the most dangerous thing that could ever be seen in the Nethers was a Grammaton Cleric and everything else in the Nethers knew it. So Partridge wasn’t overly concerned when he emerged from the ruined building to find that his car had was no-longer available, and that he’d have to walk back. The damage must have occurred whilst he was in the stone lined basement below, the noise shielded from his ears by the material. The Librian AMR-20 variant T vehicle issued to the TetraGrammaton was bullet proofed and armored to a degree, but someone had obviously used an anti-tank launcher, and the armour wasn’t thick enough to cope with a hit of that magnitude. The front half of the car was a mangled, burning wreak, with pieces of debris scattered over the ground. The rear half looked relatively intact. Partridge thought about the situation. He could no longer radio in a report to the Tetragrammaton. Could no longer summon a team to clean and log the site, or transport the prisoner back to Libria. Couldn’t radio his location in and request any backup at all. When his report was overdue, another team would be sent, but they would have to track down this location and it could take them time. He estimated that the journey back to Libria on foot would be about thirty hours.

It was the quicker option. The most efficient. He would be back in just over a day’s time. But that meant he would have to take care of the EC-10 himself.

Firstly, he cuffed the woman to a nearby lamp-post. Then, still keeping half an eye on her, he strode to the trunk of his car, unlocked it and pulled it open to reveal a selection of equipment resting in padded foam cut-outs. The first thing he did was reach in and take hold of his Prozium Injection Unit. It was fortunate that the PIU had been in the trunk, and not in the glove compartment, or he would miss his interval and would risk emotional exposure before he could return to Libria and replace the unit. Whilst the circumstances would be mitigating, missing an interval was still not something he wanted to do. Emotional experience would stain his career, and damage his own psyche. He cracked the handle open, took a vial of the straw coloured liquid and slipped in into the port. Then he pressed the unit to his neck and fired. The bite of the needle told him everything had gone well.

Then he took four spare clips from the trunk for each of his SP10 autopistols. Three of the clip-sets held the standard 10mm hollow point round, used by the TetraGrammaton Clerics for un-armoured targets. Sense-offenders seldom wore Kevlar, and the knockdown effect from the hollow point was greater. But just in case, the last clip set held titanium core 10mm AP, designed to penetrate body armour.

Next he took a PA-04 assault shotgun from the trunk, loaded it with 12 00 buckshot and racked a round into the chamber.

He leaned the shotgun against the car, took what looked like a simple metal pole, about sixty centimeters long from the trunk and slipped it into a holder inside his coat.

Finally, he took a pair of RX incendiary grenades from the car, closed the trunk and walked back towards building and it’s EC-10 contraband. As he passed the woman, she saw what was in his hand and called;

"No! You can’t do this. Some of those paintings are hundreds of years old! Those recordings are irreplaceable. Do you have any idea what you’re about to destroy? "

He ignored her of course, threw a grenade into the hidden room and didn’t look back at the burst of flame that devoured the EC-10 forever. Once back outside, he unlocked the woman, re-cuffed her with her arms in front of her body, then tossed the other grenade into the trunk of his car. No sense leaving the equipment of the Grammaton Cleric lying about for the sense-offenders to steal.

"Now what?" asked the woman.

"We walk back to Libria, where you will be handed over for processing."

"Walk back?" She raised her eyebrows. "Through the Nethers? Doesn’t that bother you?"

He looked at her evenly and replied.

"No. I am a Grammaton Cleric."

"Oh," she said, her voice bitter " I forgot. You people are invulnerable. You kill but can’t be killed."

"As close as it gets." he replied

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